It was not a typical Talladega race on Sunday. There were just three incident related cautions, one of which was a single-car with a part going down. There was also far more single-line racing than pack racing than in a typical ‘Dega race which was mostly due to pretty much everyone on the track not loving the handling of the car and feeling uncomfortable making moves. As far DFS was concerned, four of the drivers on the highest-scoring lineups all started inside the top-20. Only three times in the last 26 races here have three drivers starting inside the top-20 been on the highest scoring lineups. Also only two drivers scored better than 50 points on Sunday making it practically impossible to cash without having one or both on your roster in either format.



$12K Hot Rod (3 entry max)

Entry fee - $3

Total prizes - $12,000  First place - $1,000

Total entries – 4,756  Places paid – 1,200

Top score – 328.75 

Money line – 219.75 

Fantasy Alarm lineups Cash: 248.5; GPP 1: 242.5; GPP2: 190.25

It’s not really a shock to see Aric Almirola up at the top of the ownership rate in this contest given that he started back in 40th and had a great track history here. It is a little surprising to see that he was the only one over 50% or even 40% at 57.1% rostered. Kyle Busch came next at 39.6% with the highest-owned Team Penske driver following close behind at 37.4% and being Ryan Blaney. The Blaney play paid off more for those that played him than the 32.6% who played his teammate, Brad Keselowski and his -4.25 points he would up with. Jamie McMurray followed next at just under 30-percent (28.7). The next two drivers on the list scored the same amount of points and were on opposite ends of the salary spectrum with Kevin Harvick scoring 43.5 from the pole and Ty Dillon scoring 43.5 starting further back and for far less money. Harvick came in at 26.6 and Dillon 23.2 percent. Race winner, and highest scoring driver, Joey Logano comes in at 19.5% owned to start off the list of drivers at 20% or less. My three favorite cheap plays in Cole Whitt, Gray Gaulding, and Brendan Gaughan all fell between 16.9% and 11.1% rostered while each posted 32 or more points at the very bottom of the salary spectrum. The best value play in this contest was Alex Bowman and his 49 points being on just 7.67% of rosters, or 342 lineups out of the 4,700+.


$5 Double Up

Entry Fee - $5

Total prizes - $100  1-10th place - $10

Total entries – 23  Places paid – 10

Top score – 253 

Money line – 236 

Fantasy Alarm lineupCash: 248.5

Being that this was a small-field cash game you would expect ownership to be higher than the GPP above, however how much is interesting. Once again Aric Almirola was the highest owned driver and he was 100% owned. Including Almirola, six drivers were owned at better than 47% and five of those were over 60%. Compare that to him being the only one over 40% in the midsized GPP and you see the difference. Also immediately noticeable is that just 20 drivers were used in this contest compared to all 40 in the GPP. Once more my three favorite cheap plays in Ty Dillon, Gray Gaulding, and Cole Whitt, were lumped together, though this time they were all near or over 70% with Dillon at 78.2, Gaulding at 73.9, and Whitt at 69.5. Jamie McMurray was the last driver over 60% owned (60.87) is was the fifth-most rostered driver again. The reason the money line was so much lower in this contest than the GPP is the fact that several of the top scores were either down the list or skipped completely. Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher, Daniel Suarez, and Kurt Busch all scored better than 40 points and weren’t on a single roster in this contest. Two 40-point scores that were great values in this contest were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Newman who were both on 4.35% of rosters and scored 47 and 46 respectively. Not far behind in value is Joey Logano with his 72.5 points appearing on just two rosters total (8.7%).


NAS $0.25 Contest (7 entry max)

Entry fee- $0.25

Total prizes - $50  First place - $10

Total entries – 237  Places paid – 50

Top score – 289.75 

Money line – 224.75 

Fantasy Alarm lineupCash: 248.50; GPP 1: 242.5; GPP 2: 190.25

Yes this is a small-field cheap GPP contest, but it’s always helpful to see what the cheap ones are doing so you don’t have spend a lot to play. It’s a clean sweep for Aric Almirola as the top owned driver in this one as well at 43%. He is again the only one over 40% with Kevin Harvick, the pole sitter. at 36.29 the next one up. Kyle Busch follows at exactly a third of the lineups with him on there, which is where he should fit in at Talladega. Interestingly enough all three Penske drivers are grouped together as the fourth-sixth most owned drivers ranging from 31.65 for Brad Keselowski to 29.11 for Ryan Blaney to 24 for Joey Logano. Heading into the race everyone knew Penske cars are typically fast at restrictor plate tracks so having them grouped makes sense. Clint Bowyer was a bit of a surprise at 21.5% owned as that’s the highest he was in most of the contests and beats out other staples of the lineups like Jamie McMurray (20.68) and Ty Dillon (18.57) despite not having the same upside as Jamie Mac or Dillon. Ma, rtin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and Darrell Wallace Jr. all fit between 17.7 and 13% owned in this contest which figures given the overall GPP profile of each of their prices races histories here. David Ragan cracked the 10% barrier this week given that he finishes top-10 in both of last year’s races and did that once again starting P12 in the grid. The best value in this contest came from Chris Buescher and his 49.25 points on just 7.1% of rosters making him the highest-scoring lowest-owned driver in the contest.



This was the first week for the NASCAR games on FanDuel and while I didn’t publish lineups for the race, I did create lineups to play to make sure I had the strategy down for the difference in scoring before telling you, the subscribers, about it. As you could see on my twitter and a re-tweet by @fantasyalarm the lineups I created did in fact cash in both cash games (double-ups) and GPPs alike. The ownership patterns fit in general with how DraftKings came out but I won’t break down those contest in more detail until I start publishing full lineups for the site in a week or two.


Optimal Lineup


As usual here is the best scoring lineup possible for DraftKings this week:


Optimal Lineup



Joey Logano



Ricky Stenhouse Jr



Aric Almirola



Alex Bowman



David Ragan



Chris Buescher







It has a bit more money spent that you would normally expect for a restrictor plate track. For a matter of comparison, the optimal lineup for the Daytona 500 this year spent $42,400 to score 359.25 versus this one spending all but $2,500 to score roughly 22 points fewer. Another interesting note about this lineup is that in the last 26 Talladega races, only three times have three drivers that started inside the top-20 been in the highest scoring lineup, this week there were four of them (Ragan, Bowman, Stenhouse Jr., and Logano). No one hit the perfect lineup in the contest I played, however someone had Kurt Busch and his 46.75 points instead of Buescher’s 49.25, coming just 2.5 points away from perfection. Without the mass amount of crashes and less jockeying for position during the race, less drivers made big jumps in position differential unlike what we typically see at a plate race and so the mid-tier and up guys put up the best scores.